WHY THE NEED FOR MEDIA RELATIONS?
Media relations – one of public relations’ and corporate communication’s strategies, is often the most evident activity compared to others in the PR Toolkit. Contrary to popular misconception, it does not require the ‘wining and dining’ of media representatives to court them for media coverage. It is also one of the PR strategies that senior management find difficult to understand.
As an essential PR tool, media relations comprise the ways an organization interacts with the news media. It is about building long-term relationships with journalists and reporters who cover your organization and industry sector, managing contacts with reporters who call your company for news and information, and it also involves seeking opportunities for media coverage and responding to requests for interviews.
Additionally, it also includes monitoring, measurement and analysis of news coverage as well as managing the contact between your organization and media representatives. In some major companies, the media relations function also has responsibility for managing social media.
Since many practitioners are now entering the profession or being thrust into the media relations function directly – with no knowledge or experience as journalists or reporters, this situation has posed a challenge for journalists who have to work with these PR and communication practitioners.
The main complaints from journalists and reporters about PR and corporate communication practitioners are that “they simply do not understand what my job is”, “they cannot get the facts turned around in time” and “they don’t know the difference between news and corporate puffery”.
To address this gap when communicating with media representatives – we need to ‘walk in their shoes’. You have to understand what journalists need and want from you in the same way that you need to grasp what you want to say about your organization.
One of the fundamental issues is the presence of several agenda at work at the same time. These are:
- The target audience’s agenda – what’s in it for me?
Am I really interested in this news? Do I need or want to know about this? (If I don’t I may stop buying this newspaper/magazine, switch channels or click to another website that offers me more of what I’m looking for).
- The journalist’s agenda – is this information/news relevant and will it appeal to my readers/viewers/listeners?
Is this news feature right for our readers? If it is bad news, our readers/viewers/listeners have a right to know. If we don’t get it right for our readers/viewers/listeners, we could lose circulation/ratings. Is this an exclusive that will help me build my own professional standing?
- Your organization’s agenda – how can we improve our awareness and brand positioning through positive media coverage?
How can we minimize and contain any negative coverage?
Our advice – to build relationships with the media you have to understand the journalists’ agenda. Then proceed to work towards satisfying this agenda and helping the journalists/reporters to achieve their objectives. Do not communicate through the news media until you understand what the facts are and what you expect to achieve with the information/news being disseminated.
This is where Samanea PR can help you. Through Media Relations (a strategic Public Relations tool) we can help you establish beneficial relationships with you’re the Media, which will contribute to enhance the reputation of your company.